A look at America’s economic problems, with proposals on how to fix them.
Gallea’s short work tackles a lot. It begins with a review of the economic recessions that have occurred in American since independence as well as recessionary factors—the banking system, government action, oil, war, foreign events, etc. The author then walks the reader through a quick yet dense analysis of each category, giving his suggestions as to what needs to be done in that category to foster sustainable economic prosperity. For banking, he focuses on “limiting excess greed” by curbing speculation. For the government, he advocates having an independent, Fed-like body to manage tax receipts—“no elected officials whatsoever! They should be appointed industry leaders.” Politicians must fully disclose all of their funding sources. Social Security, Medicare and education are also examined, and Gallea offers ways to improve their functions and efficiency. To reduce debt, he advocates both cutting expenses and raising taxes. He would impose taxes in which the consumer pays for the social costs he or she creates, such as “sin taxes,” not just on things like alcohol, but also for fast food, which he links to obesity—a major health problem. Additionally, while he favors domestic production of oil and natural gas, he wants to support alternative energy research through a gas consumption tax. These basic principles—pay for the costs you incur, ratify the mechanisms that prevent our economic systems from running efficiently—are the book’s strengths. The digital format draws readers in by supplying hyperlinks to vote for or against the author’s suggestions. While some of the suggestions, such as curtailing Medicare for obese people, may be impractical, others, such as a gas tax, make sense. Oddly, though he highlights the need to cut defense spending, he uses less than a page to discuss what to do about it. This topic calls for the same sort of analysis he performs elsewhere. Though there’s ample room for disagreement, this useful book will appeal to anyone looking for a practical grasp on economic issues and possible avenues for solutions.
Thought-provoking and focused on real solutions, not rhetoric.